4 Dec 2008

Rimbunan Hijau's verification certificate in PNG has been strong criticised

11:32 am on 4 December 2008

The heavily criticised logging giant Rimbunan Hijau has been awarded the first independent certificate verifying that one of its Papua New Guinea operations is above board.

The independent inspection and verification company, Societe Generale de Surveillance, or SGS, awarded the Malaysian company's subsidiary, Saban, an official citation that its timber is 100 per cent legal on Tuesday.

The pilot verification scheme comes after increasing pressure from international timber markets and NGOs pushing to cut illegal logging.

The Rimbunan Hijau CEO, James Lau, claims the award debunks the claims of NGOs such as Greenpeace that the company is damaging forests or involved in illegal logging in PNG.

But Greenpeace's Tiy Chung says they remain skeptical of the SGS scheme because most of their criticisms and demands remained unanswered.

He says NGOs and civil society groups who criticise RH were shut out of this secret verification process.

Mr Chung says to not even have an observer participate in the audit makes us very skeptical.